When God Says “Go," But You’ve Said, “No”

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"And Jesus answered them, “Have faith in God. Truly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and thrown into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says will come to pass, it will be done for him. Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours." Mark 11:22-24

“We like your writing and your message, but you’ll need 5,000 email subscribers before we can consider you,” responded the agency. I spent months preparing a book proposal and applied to almost 30 agents to help me publish it. The response? A handful of rejection letters and miles of radio silence.

God gave me a message to run with, but all I could see was the too-high hurdle of first-timers’ fear. Love Beyond Looks: A 4-Week Bible Study on Body Image, my first Bible study, was self-published almost by accident, so I certainly didn't consider myself an author.

God’s ask wasn’t enough. I wanted approval first.

But I sought it from the authorities in the publishing world instead of resting in the Lord’s power. Their price for admission was to be approved by 5000 others first. It felt like an insurmountable cost.

Somehow, building a platform seemed more feasible than self-publishing again. Somehow, pleasing people instead of doing what the Lord said seemed less scary.

I even justified my actions by pointing to the Bible—Jesus delivered his sermon on a mount so others could hear him. Likewise, I needed my own platform for others to read my writing and for it to be worth the work, right?

But when I respected the opinions of others over the commands of God, the mount under my feet became a mountain in my way. 

I soon became frustrated and worn out trying to win the approval of others with freebies and newsletters and social media posts. But like usual when I can no longer do it my way, a stronger Voice cut through the noise. This time, He said, “You will partner with someone else.” I felt like the Lord was telling me to stop striving to build my own puny side hustle and join up with the mighty body of Christ—to stop building up and start reaching out.  

I didn’t know who or what that would be, but I was tired of striving. “Okay God, let’s do it your way,” I conceded. And when I changed my “no” in exchange for God’s “go,” the platform that seemed like an unbearable mountain to build now became a powerless pest I could brush aside.

Out of that experience, I self-published Rest and Rise - A 4-Week Bible Study: Be Refreshed in Your Work. It wasn’t the book I set out to write in the beginning, but it is the one that turned my dependence on people to trust in God. It is the one that paved the way for more books, platform or not.

And I’ve found that when I’m not depending on others for my success, I can freely serve my reader without expecting anything in return, to give back the grace that was given me. 

The Promise, Fulfilled

Two years after the Lord said that I would be partnering with someone else, my book sales shot up on the Amazon reports graph, like a big hill on a flat plain.

How did that happen?

After I became a Revelation Wellness instructor (I was convicted to do so in a dream), many of the other instructors purchased Love Beyond Looks for their people, and that Bible study was linked on Amazon with Alisa Keeton’s book The Wellness Revelation. I didn't plan any of that. But I knew it was the fulfillment of God’s promise to me, that these are the people I would partner with.

I don’t exactly make a profit from my book sales, but I sure do profit from being able to serve alongside Revelation Wellness. I didn’t realize how much I craved being part of a team, how much fun I would have being a mountain-demolition crew member, and how thrilling it is to “go” when God says so.

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I share this story as a witness of God’s faithfulness in my own life to proclaim with a steadfast assurance that no matter how long it takes, the Lord will fulfill His promises. God’s “go” will always succeed.

Do You Need More Before You Move?

Maybe you’ve felt you needed more before you could move. Maybe God asked you to do something that felt way too far outside of your comfort zone, beyond your ability, or interrupted your plans. Whatever it is for you, this is the mountain of “no” in the way of God’s “go.”

Other’s approval: A mountain can be a platform to stand upon for people to finally hear you.

Perfectionism: A mountain can be the sculpture chiseled into perfection before you can begin the real work.

Fear of rejection: A mountain can be going back to climb a route you once failed.

Not enough time: A mountain can be the wealth of resources impossible to mine.  

Comparison and doubt: A mountain can be topped with those who have hiked farther and faster than you.

Idolatry of idealism: A mountain can be the symbol your childhood dream that has always been too far out of reach. 

But if a mountain is stopping you from moving your feet in obedience, it’s in the way.

If you want to move with purpose, the way is not in pushing through mountain with your own effort, but going forward in faith. 

If it’s God’s plan, He will make a path. And when He moves, mountains crumble.

Rise

  1. When God says “go” but you’ve said, “no,” what stands in your way?

  2. What has He promised you or done in the past to help you move forward in faith?

Try this exercise:

Find a clear path a few strides long and stand at one end. Picture the “mountain” of your life in the way from number 1. Then, you will close your eyes. The darkness represents your fear. With your eyes closed, you will think of a promise from number 2. Since your eyes will be closed, you will rely on your hearing. Imagine God speaking this promise to you, and let His voice be the path to your feet. Now step forward. Do it two more times, making your stride longer each time. Practicing this in your body will help you make the faith connection in your heart.

How can faith in God versus belief in yourself make a new path?